Yeomen


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Yeomen

 

English peasantry of the 14th to 18th centuries who carried on the independent cultivation of lands that were their traditional hereditary possessions.

The term “yeoman” is a fairly ambiguous one. Originally thecore of the yeomanry consisted of the peasant freeholders onmedieval manors. However, with the breakdown of the manorialsystem, the majority of former serfs, whose de facto positioncame to resemble closely that of the freeholders, swelled theranks of the yeomen. With the continuing development of com-modity-monetary relations, however, the unity of the yeomanryas a group began to erode, tending toward a polarization into awell-to-do upper stratum and a mass of rural poor. Nonetheless, the yeomanry continued to represent the basic mass of Englishpeasantry until the middle of the 17th century. During the En-glish bourgeois revolution of the 17th century, they and theplebeian elements in the cities played a decisive role in the liqui-dation of the feudal absolutist regime, although they themselveswere deprived of the fruits of victory. The further developmentof capitalist relations in the century after the revolution led tothe almost total disappearance of the group from the historicalarena.

M. A. BARG

References in periodicals archive ?
Yeomen were posted at all doors of Royal palaces, tasted the sovereign's meals and even carried out a ceremony called "making the King's bed", with an officer sleeping outside the King's bedroom.
Until the 19th Century, the Yeomen lived in a Royal palace, though now they all have their own homes and are summoned about eight times a year for ceremonial duties.
There are positions such as Yeomen Bed-goers and Yeomen Bed-Hangers.
Iolanthe is at the New Theatre, Cardiff, on November 27 & 28; The Yeomen of the Guard will be staged on November 29 & 30 and Patience is on December 1.
The Yeomen of the Guard is directed by Michael McCaffrey and is a story of ill-fated love, intrigue and escape in Tudor England.
Iolanthe is performed tonight and tomorrow; Yeomen of the Guard on Thursday and Friday; and Patience on Saturday.
Planters and wealthier yeomen could conceive of themselves as following in a line of ancestors who knew how to lightly and masterfully handle the reins of power.
The success of yeoman farmers in undoing the Union Bank in the 1840s required planters to appeal to yeomen in the future in order to maintain their hold on power.
That is why McCurry is at such pains to extend the geographical boundaries of the Low Country, and then insist that it is one coherent region in which relations between yeomen and planters were "direct and immediate, matters of everyday, face-to-face negotiation.
194) The implication is that yeomen women could have made substantially different choices.
Yeomen in Massachusetts, New York, and the Carolinas, he shows, developed their own revolutionary ideologies and their own views of upper-class conspiracies as a result of the particular economic and social conflicts they found themselves engaged in during the 1750s, 1760s, and 1770s.
Even late in the war, yeomen continued to serve enthusiastically in defending their own neighborhoods when the British invaded that region, even while they proved reluctant to re-enlist in the Continental army.